This accusation of Amanda is really insulting Tom in two ways - firstly as being self - centred and secondly of being a dreamer. We understand that this is meant to hurt Tom by the fact that Amanda is truly angry and the statement is powered by a sense of nastiness and hurtful feelings towards Tom. From the book 'Through the Glass Menagerie', there is the suggestion that Tom is really a dreamer. That he 'retreats into his writing because there he can abstract himself from the harsh truths of his existence'. I agree with this statement completely, believing to some extent that Tom does have a world of illusions in his poetry and that to him, this is his only happiness. However 'there is little suggestion that his desertion of his mother and sister has been sanctified by the liberation, or public acknowledgement of his talent', and I agree to some extent that Tom was more of a dreamer than a selfish being.
He followed his dreams but his lack of selfishness denied him an absolution - Tennessee Williams would anticipate a resolution that would never come. 'In his own life, Williams never quite absolved himself of a feeling of guilt with respect to his sister' - the whole play is based upon this feeling of guilt, a need to be at peace with the biggest bad decision he made in his life. In my opinion, we see a Tom whom is a dreamer, 'mistaking movement for progress', and with an imagination full of false truths with regards to the world outside of the Wingfield apartment. Of these two accusations - Tom of being a dreamer and Tom of being a selfish person, I believe that 'selfish' would have been the most insulting and deeply hurtful to Tom,